Dr. Benjamin Yim, a neurosurgeon at East Bay Brain & Spine Medical Group, recently performed an Extracranial to Intracranial Bypass surgery on a patient at the Walnut Creek Medical Center with the assistance from Agnieszka Bajer (surgical technician), Thomas Pierson (OR nurse), and Mauricio Kuri, MD (plastic surgery). The patient was suffering from Moyamoya disease, a rare progressive blood vessel disorder resulting in reduced blood flow to the brain causing hemorrhagic strokes and ischemic symptoms. The procedure, once completed, resulted in immediate improvement of blood flow to the brain for the patient. Dr. Yim performed the surgery using the Zeiss Kinevo Microscope, which we currently have on loan and are planning to purchase. The microscope technology is crucial because the anastomosis of 1 mm blood vessels require sutures approximately 1/3 the width of a strand of hair. This procedure highlights the quaternary level care offerings we provide locally at John Muir Health. Patients can stay in our community for services, procedures and clinical expertise that is normally only associated with academic medical centers.
Building 2, Suite 210
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
If you develop new or quickly worsening neurologic symptoms please contact our office. If you cannot reach our office please present to an emergency room for evaluation.
We thank you for your understanding as we respond to these unusual circumstances.
Max Merkow M.D. and Matt Piazza M.D.
Dr. Merkow addresses the philosophy behind modern spine procedures that are commonly classified as “minimally invasive.” The tenets of these surgeries include minimizing tissue injury, utilizing neuronavigation (computer/imaging guidance), and maintaining normal spine motion. Examples include tubular retractor systems, artificial disc replacement, and lateral approaches to the spine. These surgeries shorten traditional recovery times. Dr. Merkow believes, when used appropriately, minimally invasive spine surgery improves clinical outcomes by decreasing pain, increasing strength, and raising one’s overall quality of life. East Bay Brain & Spine surgeons couple the latest in surgical technology with sound clinical judgment to better the lives of their patients.
East Bay Brain & Spine Medical Group is proud to announce that Ehsan Ejaz, PA-C, has joined our practice. He is a board-certified physician assistant with a passion for neurophysiology and neurosurgery. Ehsan received his B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at UC Davis where he conducted extensive research at the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (M.I.N.D.) Institute at UC Davis and the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine at Shriners Hospital. Ehsan began gaining experience as a surgical neurophysiologist at Yale New-Haven Hospital. He has conducted over 2000 intraoperative neuromonitoring consultations on a wide variety of cases. Keen to further his passion for neurosurgery and patient care, Ehsan then completed his Masters in Physician Assistant Studies at Samuel Merritt University. Ehsan’s philosophy for patient care involves empowering patients as equal members of their health care team, as patients are their own best advocates. Ehsan practices evidence-based medicine. He stays abreast of the latest developments and research by reviewing medical and neurosurgical literature as well as attending conferences. When he is not at the bedside or in the operating room, Ehsan can be found traveling to new places, hiking California’s expansive state parks, or capturing the perfect Milky Way photograph.
East Bay Brain & Spine Medical Group is proud to announce that Dr. Matthew Piazza has joined our practice. Dr. Matthew Piazza is a neurosurgeon who specializes in the surgical treatment of neurologic conditions affecting the spine, brain, and peripheral nerves. He treats a breadth of spine conditions including cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine degenerative disease, adult degenerative spinal deformity, spine trauma, and spinal tumors. Dr. Piazza’s primary goal is to provide patients with the maximum benefit with the smallest intervention using the latest surgical techniques and evidenced-based management. He believes that the patient–surgeon relationship is a partnership, and he strives to work with his patients to achieve the best outcome from both surgical and non-surgical treatments.
After graduating from Princeton University, Dr. Piazza received his medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his neurosurgical training at the University of Pennsylvania. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he served as an internal fellow in spine surgery during which time he received specialized training in the surgical management of complex spinal disorders including degenerative spinal disease, adult degenerative spinal deformity, spinal oncology, and spine trauma. His post-doctoral research focused on quality improvement in peri-operative neurosurgical care and the development of animal models for studying spinal disc regenerative therapies.
Dr. Piazza practices in Walnut Creek and has privileges at John Muir Medical Center’s Walnut Creek Campus.
Dr. Merkow interviewed for JMH Newsletter: Minimally invasive spine surgery, deep brain stimulation, and laser thermal ablation
Dr. Merkow was featured in the “Neurosciences 2018 Spotlight” of the John Muir Health newsletter. He discusses several areas of his practice including less invasive spine procedures, deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease and essential tremor, and laser thermal ablation for brain tumor treatment.
Read the newsletter excerpt.